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World

Wisconsin starts recounting presidential votes

The US state of Wisconsin has begun recounting the nearly 3 million votes cast during last month's presidential election. The states of Michigan and Pennsylvania may also carry out recounts in the weeks ahead.

The Wisconsin recount got underway Thursday after former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein filed a formal recount request last week.

US President-elect Donald Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by 22,000 votes in Wisconsin, which was worth 10 electoral votes in the presidential election on November 8. It marks the first candidate-driven recount of a presidential vote to take place in the US since the dramatic recount in Florida in 2000 that involved Democrat Al Gore and Republican former President George W. Bush. 

Experts say they do not believe the recount in Wisconsin and potential recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania will change the outcome of the election. "This is certainly not Bush v. Gore," said Mike Haas, Wisconsin chief elections administrator.

States have until December 13 to clarify their election results.

Recount process

Most counties in the northern state will recount the ballots by hand. Stein, who won about 1 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, lost a court case to manually recount votes in all counties. Milwaukee county, the largest county in the state, started recounting their votes by feeding them through the same machines that counted votes on election day.

Workers in Dane County are being paid $20 per hour to recount votes by hand and work two shifts over 12 hours per day to get the job done by the December 13 deadline.

Candidates' Reactions

Observers from the Clinton, Stein and Trump campaigns were sent across the state to monitor the recount process. Clinton's campaign has said it supported Stein's efforts.

Stein argued that there may have been irregularities in voting in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania due to tampering or cyberattacks. The Green Party candidate raised nearly $7 million (6.56 million euros) for the recounts.

"Verifying the vote through this recount is the only way to confirm that every vote has been counted securely and accurately and is not compromised by machine or human error, or by tampering or hacking," Stein said in a statement on Thursday.

Trump has lodged an objection to similar recount efforts in Michigan, and processing his objection has delayed the planned Friday start to next week. The Michigan Bureau of Elections said the recount cannot proceed until two business days after the Michigan Board of State Canvassers resolves the issue.

Attorneys for Trump said the recount could not be finished on time and Stein's petition was not properly signed. The Trump campaign representatives also claimed Stein is requesting a recount "on the basis of nothing more than speculation."

kbd/gsw (AP, dpa)

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